The Six Thinking Hats

by Unre Visagie

The Six Thinking Hats, using different modes of thinking
Chapter 6
p.4
I sometimes feel that discussions and planning sessions go nowhere. Everybody ends up defending their views and positions (and quite often their pet theories) and nothing new or constructive emerges from the meeting. Can you suggest anything that can be used that will move us beyond this?
Edward de Bono developed a set of techniques to overcome this problem. He calls it the Six Thinking Hats. The technique focuses on the deliberate use of different modes of thinking and has become widely used in businesses to enhance creativity and critical thinking
That sounds great, can you explain it to me?
The Six Thinking Hats allow us to change our focus in order to have more productive discussions.
Each hat is a different color representing a different way of thinking.
When you “put on” one of the hats, you operate exclusively in that mode of thinking. When you change from one hat to another you change your thinking mode associated with that hat to the thinking mode indicated by another hat.
It is very important to remember that the six hats are not descriptions of thinkers or categories of thinkers. Every person can use all the hats as tools to explore an issue and to stimulate creative thinking.
The White Hat
Data and information.
What information is now available to help you think about this matter?
What information would you like to have?
How might you obtain the information that you feel would be necessary or useful when deciding about this matter?
The Black Hat
Caution and critical judgement.
What are points of caution?What are the disadvantages?
What are the potential problems?
What can go wrong?
What are the logical negative points?
What are the difficulties surrounding the suggestion?
The Red Hat
Feelings, intuition, hunches and emotions.
What does your intuition tell you?
What is your gut feeling about the suggestion?
What are your simple feelings about the matter?
What are your feelings right now on this subject?
Do not attempt to explain or justify your feelings; just put them down as they are at this moment.
The Yellow Hat
Positive view, benefits and feasibility.
What are the benefits, value and advantages of this idea?
What are the logical positive points?
How could this idea be made workable?
What are the good things about the suggestion?
The Green Hat
Creative effort, new ideas, alternatives and movement.
How can the idea be modified to improve it and to remove obvious faults?
How can some of the difficulties pointed out by the Black Hat be overcome?
Are there alternative ways of achieving the same objective?
What creative ideas do you have in this area?
The Blue Hat
Thinking about thinking. Organizing and controlling the thinking process.
How would you summarize the discussion that has taken place?
Can you come to a conclusion?
If so, what is the conclusion?
If you would prefer to do some further thinking, what thinking steps would you now take?
What should happen next?
Thank you to: Edward de Bono
These hats provide two ways to move from what Mike Matulovich calls first order thinking to second order thinking.

Using different modes of thinking

Chapter 6 p.4

w&t_question

I Ask

I sometimes feel that discussions and planning sessions go nowhere. Everybody ends up defending their views and positions (and quite often their pet theories) and nothing new or constructive emerges from the meeting. Can you suggest anything that can be used that will move us beyond this?

w&t_exclamation

I Answer

Edward de Bono developed a set of techniques to overcome this problem. He calls it the Six Thinking Hats. The technique focuses on the deliberate use of different modes of thinking and has become widely used in businesses to enhance creativity and critical thinking.

w&t_question

I Ask

That sounds great, can you explain it to me?

w&t_exclamation

I Answer

The Six Thinking Hats allow us to change our focus in order to have more productive discussions.

Each hat is a different color representing a different way of thinking.

When you “put on” one of the hats, you operate exclusively in that mode of thinking. When you change from one hat to another you change your thinking mode associated with that hat to the thinking mode indicated by another hat.

It is very important to remember that the six hats are not descriptions of thinkers or categories of thinkers. Every person can use all the hats as tools to explore an issue and to stimulate creative thinking.

w&t_ch6_l_the_six_thinking_hats

The White Hat

Data and information.

  • What information is now available to help you think about this matter?
  • What information would you like to have?
  • How might you obtain the information that you feel would be necessary or useful when deciding about this matter?

w&t_ch6_m_the_six_thinking_hats

The Black Hat

Caution and critical judgement.

  • What are points of caution?What are the disadvantages?
  • What are the potential problems?
  • What can go wrong?
  • What are the logical negative points?
  • What are the difficulties surrounding the suggestion?

w&t_ch6_n_the_six_thinking_hats

The Red Hat

Feelings, intuition, hunches and emotions.

  • What does your intuition tell you?
  • What is your gut feeling about the suggestion?
  • What are your simple feelings about the matter?
  • What are your feelings right now on this subject?
  • Do not attempt to explain or justify your feelings; just put them down as they are at this moment.

w&t_ch6_o_the_six_thinking_hats

The Yellow Hat

Positive view, benefits and feasibility.

  • What are the benefits, value and advantages of this idea?
  • What are the logical positive points?
  • How could this idea be made workable?
  • What are the good things about the suggestion?

w&t_ch6_p_the_six_thinking_hats

The Green Hat

Creative effort, new ideas, alternatives and movement.

  • How can the idea be modified to improve it and to remove obvious faults?
  • How can some of the difficulties pointed out by the Black Hat be overcome?
  • Are there alternative ways of achieving the same objective?
  • What creative ideas do you have in this area?

w&t_ch6_q_the_six_thinking_hats

The Blue Hat

Thinking about thinking. Organizing and controlling the thinking process.

  • How would you summarize the discussion that has taken place?
  • Can you come to a conclusion?
  • If so, what is the conclusion?
  • If you would prefer to do some further thinking, what thinking steps would you now take?
  • What should happen next?

Thank you to: Edward de Bono

A great way to apply the six thinking hats is when you are considering a midlife career change. The process will help to give you clarity on what exactly should be your next career.

w&t_elephant

I Advise

These hats provide two ways to move from what Mike Matulovich calls first order thinking to second order thinking.

About Unre Visagie
I am a master coach with 30 years of career and business coaching experience. I have built and sold many of my own multi-million dollar companies. I have always built my companies based on the principle of successful people make a successful company. I invest in people. As your coach you get 30 years of experience to help you do the work you love and earn the salary you want.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

modiegi April 16, 2010 at 2:36 pm

what are the disadvantages and advantages of de bono’s hats?

Eric Garner December 4, 2010 at 6:58 pm

I find the theory very interesting. However, even though I know about the theory, I still find it hard to apply the structure to any decision, problem, or thinking issue. Having said that, it’s still a great concept that may work for some people. We use it for sure on the Thinking Skills courses at ManageTrainLearn (www.managetrainlearn.com) as a way to stimulate open thinking.

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